0-27212121-290200.jpgThe new ‘Project Runway‘ started last week, settling into it’s new network rather easily. I’m not sure the same can be said for the designers, who seam as stressed and unsure as they could be.

Heidi tells the models they will be designing for a celebrity who was a supermodel, now has a successful career in TV and Film and is currently pregnant. Many wonder if it is Heidi herself, but then out walks Rebecca Romijn – who is pregnant with twins. The designers are told to make something form fitting and chic and are given fake bellies for their models in the workroom. After last week, Ra’Mon worries about playing it safe, while Lousie hand dyes lace and Malvin conceptualizes about a ‘mother hen’. Because farm animals are the new black, I guess.

Mitchell has experience designing pregnancy clothes, but after last week he wants to play it much safer. He’s decided on a pair of shorts, but partway through their construction they are so huge that Louise and Shirin each get in a leg. I’m sure Rebecca will be thrilled with this segment later on. Tim talks to Malvin about his design, which includes jodhpurs that have padded legs that he calls “chicken thighs”. Tim points out that no woman wants bigger thighs. Ra’Mon has decided to use color blocking on the belly of his dress, which he is pleased with. Until Mitchell points out that it looks like a bowling ball bag. And it DOES.

On the Runway, Logan’s outfit is very ready-to-wear, but also very simple, amounting to little more than a white draped top and black stretch pants. It’s what a model might wear for a runway show that s supposed to spotlight the accessories. Shirin’s design includes a really great wool coat with a lovely patterned lining that plays off the color of her dress – which is nothing short of sublime with a waistline that is eye catching and chic. It’s clearly a contender for the top slot, and we’ve not even seen most of the other designs.
Nicholas’s design has a detail on the sides that has the unfortunate effect of looking like puckered seams, while the skirt rides up as the model walks the runway. Christopher’s dress is lovely and simple, with good volume and texture. Mitchell’s shorts have become a sad and unstructured mess, giving the overall look the appearance of sloppiness. Qristyl’s gown is lovely, with good draping, but bears little resemblance to the challenge – which was fitted and chic – as it is basically one long piece of flowy material.

Epperson designed a great coat, but I am a bit taken aback by the jumpsuit underneath. That is likely my own bias – I could never get behind the idea of a jumpsuit very easily. Louise’s dress is does look like lingerie, but does so in such a subdued way with such great detailing, that it’s slightly dated quality ends up leaning more towards timeless. Alas, it can’t fully inhabit timeless, but it’s not the total miss I’d worried about. Gordana’s dress itself is rather lovely, but I am too distracted by the formless sweater she’s paired it with. Which is the same dilemma I have with Johnny’s look, which has a cropped jacket made out of a material that looks like upholstery fabric from 1972.

Malvin’s concept may have been chicken and egg, but looking at the design all I see is a sling around the belly over a black tank. With feathers. Ra’Mon’s dress…well, I just can’t get the imagery of the bowling ball bag out of my head. Carol’s dress is interesting, but I think there’s just too much going on between the gathering and detailing. Althea’s gown is elegant and chic with a strong concept and clear understanding of where to highlight form and where to manage comfort. However, there is a noticable misstep with the bust, which leaves the model looking uncomfortably exposed. Irina’s dress is….well, my younger sister was pregnant not too long ago, and I think we saw that exact dress in Pea in a Pod. It’s a bit immature and saccharine.

The judges pull Louise, Althea and Shirin as their favorites, ultimately choosing Shirin as the winner, with her versatile and chic design. The bottom three consist of Ra’Mon, Mitchell and Malvin, but it’s clear that Malvin will be the one to leave. He chalks it up to him being too conceptual, which may be true – but the show actually isn’t about conceptualizing something to inspire what may become good design – but about designs that are wearable now. While Ra’Mon’s risk didn’t pan out, he was thinking outside the box, and Mitchell’s though process was sound, his execution was just off.

I am still struggling to know who is who – but that is typical for me for the first 3-4 episodes. Epperson is the one who seems to have the most clear point of view – even if it is one that  I am not sure I can support, I appreciate that it’s present in his work thus far. Beyond that, I am not catching much flavor from anyone else yet. Who is standing out to you? Who won’t be able to make it work next week?


Posted by:Jessica Paff